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No driving without refugee status

Government drives home the message of `tough, but fair rules’
22nd April 2010: Asylum-seekers will not be able to drive vehicles, until they get refugee status.

The changes announced by the government prohibit asylum seekers and some immigrants from even applying for a British driving licence.

The changes are expected to go a long way in preventing asylum seekers and short-stay immigrants from acting as unlicensed cab drivers, while awaiting decision on their case.

The brakes applied the government are applicable to any economic migrant or student not been granted permission to stay for more than six months. The violators face fine for driving unqualified and driving unlicenced cabs.

Elaborating, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: “This is another example of us applying tough but fair rules to people seeking to live in our country.

“This will make our streets safer. Too many migrants think they can earn a living on the road while their cases are being considered.

“As a result we have seen unsafe, unregistered cabs with inexperienced drivers.”

Until now, anybody who had entered Britain legally was allowed to apply for a driving licence and take a test.

The UK government has already halted the process of granting driving licence to failed asylum seekers, given temporary leave to remain in the UK.

The changes, which were agreed by the Department for Transport and Home Office, apply to anyone not been given permission to remain in Britain for more than 185 days.

Paul Clark, the roads minister, says those with undecided status, or without leave, should not be seeking to establish the benefits of ordinary settled life in the UK, including access to driving licences.

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